Extend the harvest


My favorite season is fall.   I love the crispness in the air, the final bounty of the garden and the anticipation of collecting all those leaves for composting next year.   I am the type of person who wants to maximize the productivity of my urban garden.  I am perplexed when I see still green tomato and other vegetable plants in garbage cans after the first light frost.

I routinely have tomatoes into early November as well as other vegetables such as swiss chard, lettuce, spinach, egg plant, green beans, peppers, potatoes, carrots, tomatillos, several varieties of squash, peas, onions and others.  The cold season crops do not need protection from the elements to extend the harvest until a hard freeze.   The summer vegetables are easily saved by simply covering them with black plastic in the evening and taking it off in the morning.  Life does not always allow time to cover crops but the thought of perfectly good tomatoes (usually a bumper crop of large green tomatoes),  and other vegetables getting thrown in the garbage goes against reason.

I think most people, including myself at times, are happy to see the garden work end so they find the first excuse, the weather, to tear everything out.  I suggest you do not do this.  Try and keep the veggies coming.   I too like to see a cleaned up yard when winter is around the corner but I can wait a few weeks in our climate as the weather usually cooperates for yard clean-up in November.  I like to keep the yard green and lush as long as possible.  There are plenty of months to look at brown empty beds.

A week or so ago my brother in law called to see if I wanted 15 or so bags of shredded wood from a couple of large tree stumps he had removed.  Always looking for organic matter I quickly accepted the offer and he dropped them off .

Today I found a few minutes to get outside and do a little gardening work.  Like most people I have gotten lazy on the weeding and other tasks.  I was able  to weed the terraced  areas  around my fruit trees in anticipation of using the shredded wood as ground cover around my fruit trees.

I don’t want to sound ungrateful, and he did deliver the material, but now I have to vent a little bit.  He is not a regular reader of my blog so I think I can get away with  a little “trash talking”.   I was happy to see the material but I was not happy to see the cheap a@# thin trash bags that he loaded to about eighty pounds.   The bags have been sitting in my driveway for a week as I knew they were going to be a disaster to move.   As I got tired of tripping over them, today was the day to get them moved.

I got the first bag about halfway to the fruit tree area when it split in half.  After a few profanity laden moments I went and grabbed a shovel and hand moved the material.  The next try was bringing the wheelbarrow up several flights of stairs and retrieving the contents of the next bag.  Down the stairs I went and the steep angle caused half of the material to dump out.  After a few more profanity laden moments I again had to shovel the material by hand to the terraced bed areas.  Two bags down and 13 to go.  There had to be a better way……but I did not come up with one.  An hour or so later I was finished moving the material but the clean-up mess is for another day.  I cannot take any more today.  Moral of the story is……don’t buy the cheap a@# garbage bags (unless you are giving the material away to make someone else’s day).




About urbancompostsystems

I am a retired law enforcement officer who is an avid gardener. I have a compost bin business named Urban Compost Systems. I believe strongly in the concept of growing healthy food and I utilize chickens and redworms in my "compost system". The only ingredients that I need from outside my system are leaves in the fall and some supplemental grass clippings from neighbors. I make hundreds of gallons of compost in my four bin system. I thoroughly enjoy the summer bounty I get from my yard and I take great pride in knowing that I am using my yardwaste to make healthy compost for my yard.
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